Oil Check Washington

Here are all the Northwest cities, governments and organizations that oppose oil trains

Jan. 28th - Across our region, Northwest residents are talking about the growing risks from oil train traffic in their communities. The numerous derailments and fiery disasters since oil-by-rail became the go to form of transportation for Bakken shale oil, has many speaking out about concerns for public safety and health.

There are new projects currently seeking permits in Vancouver, Grays Harbor and Longview Washington, refineries increasing capacity in Anacortes Washington and a facility already in operation in Port Westward Oregon. The trains run the length of Washington State; cutting across the Columbia River and through some of the region's largest population centers.

This regional conversation came to a head last week with the first public hearings for the proposed Tesoro Savage oil-by-rail facility. With capacity to bring in 360,000 barrels/day, it would be the largest facility in North America. Between two hearings in Vancouver and Spokane nearly 2,000 showed up, the overwhelming majority in opposition. More than 275,000 people sent in public comments, believed to be a record for a Washington State project.

Final delivery of public comment come on the heels of Multnomah County formally opposing oil trains and officials with the Washington State Attorney's office expressing deep concerns that the initial environmental impact statement down played risks to public safety and health.

With this swirl of public statements and voices of concern on oil trains it can be difficult to get perspective on who has said what and what their statements mean. To that end we’ve created a map organizing all the formal statements against oil trains that highlights who has spoken up and how strong their opposition was.

We've broken them up into 4 categories (increasing from light to dark coloring):

- determination of safety/careful analysis (lightest blue)

- expression of concern or reconsideration

- formal written opposition

- request for moratorium or to decline permit (darkest blue)

There are a total of 5 counties, 10 major organizations and 31 cities that have officially voiced concern or outright opposition to oil trains in their communities. With groups as wide ranging as the Washington State Council of Firefighters to the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and cities from Spokane and Aberdeen to Bellingham and Hood River (basically anywhere the trains would run) its clear how diverse and widespread opposition is in both states.

You can check out the full map here. As new cities and groups consider the risks we will continue to add to the list.


- Nick Abraham Editor Oil Check Northwest

[email protected] @oilchecknw

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